Sinn Fein wins in Northern Ireland local elections, urges return of government

LONDON (AP) — Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein has made sweeping gains in Northern Ireland’s local elections. The party repeated its success from last year’s assembly elections. The vote counting in the local election was completed late Saturday. Sinn Fein took 144 of 462 local government seats. The Democratic Unionist Party captured 122 seats while the centrist Alliance Party had 67. Sinn Fein’s vice president Michelle O’Neill said the results were “momentous.” She added that her party’s success was a message from voters that Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government must get back to business. The semi-autonomous Belfast government has been suspended since the DUP walked out more than a year ago to protest a post-Brexit customs border.